Battle of Halle 1806 AAR

Back on November 18th, or two weekends ago, WR ran his Battle of Halle 1896 scenario on the warren gaming tables. The outcome and AAR below covers the close action of the Prussians trying to fight their way northward and the two-step French process of seizing the Hohe Brücke covered bridges then their attempted breakout to block the Prussian Reserve Command from exiting the tabletop on the Dessau road.

After introductions and a brief pre-game discussion on the Halle scenario, both player teams (six players) set about the scenario opening turns. The background WR report for this interesting 1806 campaign battle can be read here: Battle of Halle 1806

Opening situation has the French I Corps under Marshal Bernadotte arriving and preparing to attack the Prussian outpost deployed before the Hohe Brücke covered bridges leading into old town Halle proper. Leading the French Corps is the 1st Division under GD Dupont and alongside is the Corp’s light cavalry brigade under GB Tilly. Following in road march are the two other French infantry divisions: the 2nd Division under GD Rivaud and the 3rd Division under GD Drouet. The forward Prussian Advance guard is commanded by GM von Hinrich while the bulk of the Prussian Reserve command is stationed south of Halle on the eastern side of Saale river. The Prussian Reserve Command consists of two Infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade. The 1st Reserve Division under GM von Natzmer, the 2nd Reserve Division under GM von Jung-Larisch, and the Reserve cavalry brigade under Oberst von Hertzberg.

With the forces positioned to start the scenario, the curtain veil parts with the two sides within artillery bombardment and charge range….

Opening 1000 hours scene. GD Dupont’s 1st Division with GB Tilly light cavalry brigade arrive before the Prussian fusilier outposts at Halle and Hohe Brücke covered bridges.

The rest of the Prussian Reserve command is positioned just south of Halle and in reserve. Their movement is triggered by French movement into Halle or crossing the Saale river. Each rectangular wooden block represents a divisional command.

The Halle 1806 scenario notes file (.doc): Halle 1806 Scenario Notes

Halle 1806 scenario tabletop map. Each map square is 12″ by 12″ to correspond to the tabletop.

Same scenario map for Halle 1806 but with the starting positions marked by the command counters. Arriving commands just on map edge pending scheduled arrival.

Scenario start 1000 hours: French have first movement (side 1) on the tabletop. Before the French Movement phase however, the Prussians have their Cavalry Charge Declaration phase (sequence of play chart at end of this article). So the two small Prussian detachments (dragoons and hussars) sound their trumpets. French morale tests passed, the French unit movement is slowed due to the Prussian charge zone (halved).

Prussian hussar and dragoon detachments open the scenario with their declared cavalry charges. French are not impressed by the token Prussian charge…. but French movement is slowed.

French finish their unit movements. The Prussian small hussar detachment charge home on the 2nd French Hussars during the Shock phase. French counter-charge but lose the sword play brawl for the moment and retire. Continuing their charge, the Prussian hussars impact the maneuvering 5th French Chasseurs in the flank, sending them packing to the rear. Prussians win the first fights. Continue reading

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Battle of Saalfeld 1806 AAR

Since WR hasn’t the capability to play out the major battles of Jena and Auerstaedt with his expanding Prussian 1806 miniature army yet, he plans to explore the Battle of Halle 1806 next after this AAR write-up on his recent Saalfeld 1806 game. But first, the opening campaign and exciting Battle of Saalfeld between Marshal Lannes and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.

Scenario opening positions at 1000 hours. Prussian left flank command (Major Rabenau) deployed before old town Saalfeld wall with Jagers at Garnsdorf. French arriving upper left..

Prussian and Saxon main body command under GM von Bevilaqua marches into position between Saalfeld and Crosten village. Prince Louis of Prussia at left before the Prussian 6th Hussars.

Total view of the scenario tabletop from the eastern view. French arrive from left, the old town of Saalfeld at right, and Prussian Saxon main body mid table.

Saalfeld scenario map drawn to 12″ per square or one inch equals 50 yards. French enter on the lower edge.

Saalfeld scenario map showing the various command counters and starting positions. See Saalfeld scenario notes document (.doc) for details.

For complete details of the Saalfeld 1806 battle and scenario files, please proceed to the Saalfeld 1806 articles recently posted:  Battle of Saalfeld 1806 and the Preparation for Saalfeld.

1000 hours: Opening scenario turn. Team France (Daniel and Luis) have first movement so they immediately assault the village of Garnsdorf starting the scenario within striking distance. Two battalion columns from the 17th Legere are sent against Garnsdorf. The separate small 3rd battalion, formed from the converged elite companies, is sent to skirmish and prevent any Prussian counter response. Deploying from road column, the leading 21st French Chasseurs a’ cheval regiment forms line backing the skirmishers. More French hussars arrive trotting down the Grafenthal to Saalfeld road, followed by their attached small 4 pdr. horse artillery detachment under Lt. Simonnet. Prussian Valentini jagers quickly abandon the Garnsdorf village, odds of 9:1 are well beyond their capability to resist. Major Rabenau deploys up his fusilier battalions across the low-rise Lerchen Hugel while the arriving 6th Hussars are directed to threaten the French downslope advance, joining the left flank Saxon Hussar detachment.

Prussian Saxon main body starts to deploy from battalion columns as the Prussian trains retire westward.

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Battle of Gospic 1809 AAR

To continue the Gospic 1809 story line, WR and his son Daniel played out the 25/28mm napoleonic scenario at GAMEX this past Memorial Day week. Standard 8×6′ table, some unusual terrain features, a cast of Austrian battalion units uncommon for any tabletop battlefield and, like the Klagenfurt 1809 scenario, a use for the WR’s French train column miniatures.

The historical campaign background material for the Battle of Gospic 1809 can be read here: Battle of Gospic 1809

WR’s scenario notes (.doc) file for Gospic (Bilaj) 1809 scenario: Gospic 1809 Scenario Notes

Opening situation has GD Clauzel’s division entering lower right in columns. Ahead of them is the small voltiguer / sapper detachment heading for the Barlete bridge. At left, the leading units of Oberst Rebrovic’s command crossing the Licca river bridge. Village of Bilag center left in photo.

Closer view of GD Clauzel’s division. 8th Legere, 23rd Ligne, 11th Ligne, and attached 81st Ligne regiments with foot battery. Voltiguer detachments A & B at left with chasseurs and up ahead.

Oberst Rebrovic’s battalion columns crossing the Licca river bridge at Novoselo, heading towards Bilaj village and French off photo upper right corner. The first rocky outcrop is seen.

Alone and wondering what the day will bring, the local “militia or townsfolk” are joined by Hauptmann Hraovsky and the Hohenzollern Chevauleger detachment near Barlete bridge.

The scenario map to understand the tabletop details and distances. Scenario map is scaled like all the other WR scenario maps; one map square is 12 inches or 600 tabletop yards (50 yds to inch ground scale). The following map photo shows the scenario starting positions, or map squares, for each command or small detachment. The Battle of Gospic is not a large napoleonic battle in the scale of the times, but for the combatants, the fighting was just as sustained and bloody.

Scenario map without the positions of the commands. Clearly shows the Barlete bridge / ford Jadova river crossing, the Novoselo Licca river crossing, and the three rocky outcrops near Bilaj.

Commands and their map square scenario starting positions laid out. French have arriving reinforcements at G2 map edge. the Austrian detachments are possible reinforcements.

Sequence of Play clip

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Battle of Raab AAR Pt II

Continuing with the second part of WR’s Battle of Raab 1809 Part II AAR. To read the Raab 1809 Part I, please click on this link: Battle of Raab 1809 AAR Pt I. For the prior WR background article on the battle click this link: Battle of Raab 1809.

1420 hours: After the Hungarian lunch served on the warren patio, the Franco-Italian-Baden players set to work mounting several divisional assaults along the Pandzsa stream defense while slowly winning the open plain southern cavalry fight. Dense columns of French infantry cross the Pandzsa and impact the defending Austrian formations, consisting mostly of weak landwehr or large Insurrection battalions.

Note: Mentioned in first article part, the miniature ratio is 1:90 for this scenario or one miniature represents ninety men. WR’s historical scenarios have a floating miniature ratio commonly between 1:80 and 1:100. Basic units are battalions of infantry (4 to 10 miniatures), regiments of cavalry (3 to 12), and batteries of artillery (cannon on base with crew miniature, width of base determines number of cannon). Infantry, and to a limit degree cavalry, can deploy individual miniatures as skirmishers before their parent units. Screening in our rules is a big thing….and the lack of ready available Austrian skirmishers later in the scenario created Austrian difficulties.

GD Pachrod’s division (by bridge), joined by GD Seras’ division (at right), cross the Pandzsa and assault the first Austrian line. Pachrod’s infantry hit first… will the landwehr / Insurrection hold?

GD Seras crosses Pandzsa north of Kismegyer farm. GD Durette’s battalions cross and turn into the farm’s defense. Musketry rings out and losses mount. Two French 8 pdr. batteries support.

Austrian insurrection battalion (in blue coats) engage in musketry against the approaching French columns. Another isurrection battalion is morale disordered from French batteries.

Scenario tabletop map without map counters.

On the open southern plain, the French light cavalry has earned a firm lodgment against the best efforts of FML Mecsery and his left flank cavalry. Like the infantry up north on the Szabadhegy heights, the majority of the Austrian cavalry regiment are insurrection hussars. More French dragoon regiments (Grouchy’s division) cross the Pandzsa stream and join the weary light cavalry of GD Montburn.

More French dragoon regiment have crossed the Pandzsa and form up alongside the tired light cavalry of GD Montburn. Austrian defenders appear weak in number as several have routed away.

Under the Austrian 12 pdr. batteries, leading 22nd Legere battalion is pounded hard with heavy loss. Hungarian IR #62 two small battalion (2×4) defend the Kismegyer loopholed walls.

Northern sector sees the daring 25th Chasseurs a’ cheval reforming on the exposed flank of the Szala Insurrection hussars. Pinned in place, the disordered Szala hussars cannot face both direction against the threatening French cavalry while being shelled by the French horse battery across the Pandzsa.

Disordered and shelled by French horse battery, the Szala Insurrection Hussars cannot face two directions and counter the reforming 25th Chasseurs a’ cheval on their flank.

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Battle of Raab 1809 AAR Pt I

Back in August 2015 WR wrote up his 1809 napoleonic scenario on the Battle of Raab, featuring Viceroy Eugene and his Armee d’Italie vs. Archduke Johann & Joseph and their Insurrection army of Hungary. Planning for this scenario last year, WR painted up ten Insurrection battalions (10×10) and ten Insurrection hussar regiments (10×8) required for playing Raab, mostly from old Brunswick casting. Definably not the typical napoleonic unit fielded or painted for the tabletop and really a “one use” collection of miniatures for playing historical battles. So with miniatures painted, banners affixed, and based, it is time to play out the Battle of Raab 1809.

Joined by five local gamers, the player side teams are formed. Team Franco-Italian-Baden played by Dan, Andy, and Luis. Team Austria to be commanded by John, Rob, and Daniel. WR positioned himself as the GM with spare pair of hands. Early in the scenario proceedings, Rob had to exit the field and Luis never showed for reasons unknown. Daniel was pulled for race car prep duty by his brother….. thus four final gamers nobly carried out the duties of miniature commanding. Dan and Andy on the Franco-Italian-Baden team and John and WR for team Austria, Special mention must be made for the culinary team Raquel for finishing the Hungarian stew, setting out the gamer snacks, and various drinks for mid game meal.

After a brief player orientation for the scenario and command / miniature identification, the scenario commenced about 10am and played into the early evening hours, finishing eighteen turn of lively action and rendering a decision. WR has broken this AAR into two parts due to the shear length and photos. Part I to cover the tabletop action up till 1420 hours scenario time, and the second part will be posted to WR, for the balance of the scenario, next week.

Scenario design and historical background material posted to WR at Raab 1809 and the Raab 1809 Scenario notes (,doc).

Austrian army HQ and trains, with Archduke Johann & Joseph themselves, near the chapel on Szabadhegy height. Wooden blocks denote the starting tabletop commands for scenario.

Starting positions viewed from SE. Pandzsa stream runs the center table line. Viceroy Eugene’s HQ at far left near farmstead.

Franco-Italian-Baden army from the SW tabletop edge. The Austrians behind the Pandzsa stream and on Szabadhegy heights clearly seen. Raab fortress is off left upper corner.

Wooden block tabletop use is covered in this earlier WR blog posting: Wooden blocks

Tabletop terrain is flat in most areas with two hills or heights on the Austrian side. The heights of Szabadhegy is a low rise overlooking the lower open plain, with a smaller hillock towards Raab. Local farms and fields dot the tabletop, single buildings and symbolic fields. The village of Szabadhegy and Kismegyer farm have special Austrian rules for retaining control. The entrenched camp and Raab fortress are just off the northern map corner. Lastly, the two streams which cause movement difficulties for the French curve across the tabletop. Both are terrain disordering for close order formations and for cavalry the Pandzsa has special crossing rules.

Scenario tabletop map without map counters. Each map square is 12″x12″ on the tabletop.

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Napoleonic Training day

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, WR opened the warren for a bit of napoleonic gaming, specifically for playing a training scenario for understanding the group rules and French army organization as the primary scenario objectives. Since the scenario would be a French vs. any French ally tabletop battle, the WR painted 25/28mm napoleonic collection yielded an obvious match up…. France vs. Northern Italians.

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Scenario map. Typical european terrain, with some open ground, low hills, a woods, a few buildings, and low walls or hedges. Scale is 12″ for each square for 6′ x 4′ tabletop area.

Forces involved: WR designed the scenario to use forces with similar organization battalion or cavalry regimental structure. So, French vs. Northern Italian “revolt” with a timeline of 1810-11 became the choice since both armies have basically the same battalion structure and cavalry regiments… except for French two cuirassier regiments and two converged grenadier battalions, WR used his Italian guard cavalry and infantry.

French organized their single corps with four commands. Two infantry divisions, each with one legere, two line regiments, and 8 pdr. foot battery. Each infantry regiment had three battalions of six miniatures. The cavalry division had four cavalry regiments; two chasseurs a’ cheval and two dragoon regiments (five miniatures each), with attached 4 pdr. horse battery. Lastly, the French reserve division had two converged grenadier battalions (2×6), two cuirassier regiments (2×5) and 6 pdr. foot battery. Attached to the corps headquarters was a 12 pdr. positional foot battery and corps ammunition train.

The Italian single corps organization matched the French commands in number and size. The only difference was in the Italian reserve command. Italian reserve division had a battalion of Italian guard grenadier, a battalion of guard chasseurs, the guard dragoons, and lastly the Italian Guard di Honor converged squadrons formed into a regiment. Artillery and corps headquarters remained the same as the French. For the numbers summary; both sides had 159 miniatures organized as 31 combative units, army MFP morale level at 105, and nearly balanced at 1590 points.

Scenario rosters (.xls):  France Roster,  Italian Roster

Opening deployments (1000 hours): French 1st Infantry Division deploys to the road left side, the sister French 2nd Division deployed between the road and farm with the French corps HQ deployed near the road. The cavalry division, having limited open space near the infantry, formed up on their right flank. Being Side One for the sequence of play (SOP), the French 1st Division marched forward to control the low hill, sending a legere regiment, in battalion columns, towards the left flank medium woods. The central 2nd Division, marched forward in massed formation, not proper narrow battalion columns, so their movement rate was restricted to linear. Holding back a bit, the French right flank cavalry division trotted forward to the roadway, placing chasseur a’ cheval skirmishers in front.

Note: For infantry column movement rate, the battalion is required to be in a “proper” column formation. Simple rule…. have more battalion unit miniatures in the rear ranks compared to the front rank. So a six miniature French battalion would have two miniatures in front and the other four miniatures in following formation close order ranks (a two by three block of miniatures). If three miniatures are in the battalion’s front rank, the other three are formed as the second rank… this is a massed formation, i.e. more than one rank of miniatures for firepower targeting, but moves at the slower linear formation rates (French class A movement, 9″ vs. 7″).

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General view of scenario after the eager French 1st movement phase completed.

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The French side surges forward towards their Italian opponents. Note the French 2nd Infantry Division is massed formations and not using “proper columns” compared to 1st Division at left.

Northern Italians  basically the same Corp’s organization and structure as their French opponents, so the Italian deployment sort of matched the French. Italian cavalry on their left, opposite the French cavalry division. The 1st Italian Infantry Division before the central village, and the remaining 2nd Italian Infantry Division covering the Italian right flank. One little wrinkle… The Italian players detached one Italian chasseur a’ cheval regiment from their cavalry division on left and placed with their right hand infantry division.

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The Italian view awaiting  their first movement as the French complete the 1st movement phase.

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Battle of Raszyn 1809 AAR

Well this seems to be a first for the WR. Normally WR decides to write-up a specific battle or mini-campaign, then proceed to composing the scenario notes (.doc) files after performing research to detail out the historical approach march of both armies, why they ended up on the same battlefield, and compares the research material for differences or conflicts etc.., especially in the units present and location on the battlefield. After all the steps and proofing the scenario notes…. play test the scenario for critical terrain to miniatures interaction, debug for issues which arise from having future gamers maneuver the tabletop miniatures, especially on the victory conditions. Then post a WR blog article on the site, followed then by AAR posting of the scenario played out.

This time, since the decision period for which historical battle scenario to play was reduced to one week, the whole process had to be compressed. One advantage WR had been he played a “Raszyn like” scenario several years ago so the feel and pace of the tabletop action was known. WR also remembered the players did a “power left march” and attacked Raszyn directly along with Michalowice. Jaworow never saw an Austrian miniature for the entire scenario. Dawidy saw the two grenzer battalions… they crossed the river and just sat in village for the victory conditions. The Mrowa (Ranka) stream slowed them down… but wasn’t a great terrain issue… and the Austrian artillery had a grand time with the smaller Saxon-Polish units. Wasn’t exactly what happened back in April 1809. So with that in mind the scenario notes file was completed the morning of truth (gamers arrival). Normally the gamers have an advance copy of the scenario notes and any discussion of the battle. For the historical scenario tabletop terrain map, the process was fairly easy… WR used Gill’s “Thunder on the Danube volume III” map (pages 13 & 15), and the internet drawn map source under “napoleonistyka” by Zbynia Olszewski, comparing both to a period drawn map WR had in his map files. More information on the scenario design, issues, conflicting data, and sources / links to be provided on next blog post.

To the scenario play test and AAR first this time…. then WR will post the Raszyn historical background material on next posting. Update: Battle of Raszyn 1809 historical background now posted.

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Opening scene for the scenario. GB Rozniecki cavalry brigade in foreground, DOW infantry brigades in Falenty and villages along the Mrowa (Rawka) stream at left. Austrians enter at right on temporary table extension.

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Opening scene on Austrian left. GM Geringer’s brigade enters. The GM Speth kuirassier brigade will arrive at right from table edge. GB Rozniecki DOW cavalry (3rd and 6th Uhlans) before them.

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GM Mohr’s Austrian advance guard starts scenario spilt apart. The majority on the Janczewice to Falenty to Raszyn road while the two S. Wallach grenz battalions enter near Podolszynie (right).

The Raszyn 1809 scenario tabletop map below is drawn at 600 yds. (12″ tabletop) to the map square inch. Terrain features and their effect on gameplay is discussed in the Raszyn 1809 scenario notes (.doc file) at end. To play out the cavalry approach encounters between GB Rozniecki’s uhlan cavalry brigade and the advancing Austrian cavalry (GM Mohr advance guard, GM Geringer detachment, and the arriving kuirassier brigade of GM Speth), WR used an extra foot table extension to increase the tabletop width to seven feet. Once the Polish cavalry is pushed further in on to the tabletop (back towards Janki and Falenty), the table edge extension is removed.

The scenario play testers: Dan and Paul for team Duchy… aka the Poles. Should be noted Paul has Polish heritage in his blood. For Team White coats… aka the Austrians, Andy, Daniel, and Luis marched on to the tabletop (with the miniatures that is). WR had the opportunity to watch and record the scenario battle for posterity…. and make corrective notes for the final version of the Raszyn 1809 scenario notes (.doc) file (found at end of this blog article if interested). Scenario play went well, considering the compressed time frame to generate written material and research.

Note: Since WR had the opportunity to take photos of the interplay tabletop action, WR will describe the game play rules involved shown in the photographs as italicized notes. This scenario, being a smaller scenario and open ground provides clear examples of the game system and interaction of the units and sequence of play.

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Raszyn 1809 scenario map showing the terrain, map grid and village names. Note the yellow line denoting the table edge extension. Each map square is 12″ by 12″ or 600 yards. (50 yds./inch).

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Raszyn 1809 scenario map with the command counters placed per their starting map grid coordinates. See scenario notes .doc file for  command rosters and scenario design.

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